Choice Three Apply
For Water-Board Job
By MARTHA MUSGROVE consisted of more than Everglades Friday on a new director, Mr.
Of The Herald's Editorial Board National Park. Another chuckled Wodraska will be competing with
JOHN Wodraska, acting director at the prospect of getting a permit two other men. One is Thomas
of the South Florida Water Man- from the Corps of Engineers to Buchanan, assistant chief for oper-
agement District, was the pre-in- restore the Kissimmee River and atioos of the U.S. Geological
terview favorite to head the "undo" one of its projects. A third, Survey, who eight years ago
agency. After asked how he would balance headed the Miami office. The other
10 hours of in- o competing demands for water, is Col. Tilford Creel, director of
terviews with stated the obvious, "It's very, very the .U.S. Army Engineer Water-
seven "final- difficult." A fourth, seemingly ways Experiment Station in Vicks-
ists" last week- oblivious to the fact that the burg, Ms.
end Mr. Wod- district sprawls over 16 counties, Colonel Creel is the kind of
raska was still talked about delivering luncheon engineer who would give the
the favorite speeches in every city. (Three a Corps a good name. He has not
if not the clear week for a year might cover the only built dams but pioneered
choice of the : territory.) programs to "mitigate environ-
selection corn- Musgrove "Woody's" 12 years of experi- mental damage." He talked of
mittee, and not simply because he ence in dealing with Federal and searching for "alternatives" to
currently occupies the office. state agencies, his knowledge of engineering problems that tradi-
Culled from some 438 appli. district computer systems, his tionally have been solved with a
cants, all of the finalists demon- efforts to draft and win support bucket of concrete. He spoke of
strated the intellectual capacity for a water-shortage plan, and his controlling melaleuca, implement-
and management skill to run the direction of hurricane preparations ing affirmative-action programs,
district and its 900 employees, looked better and better. and relieving the staff of "burea-
Indeed, as Board Chairman Stan- That is not to say he wasn't cratic minutia."
ley Hole put it, they were nothing savaged in the questioning. Dr. Mr. Buchanan enjoys a national
less than "outstanding." Kathleen Abrams the only reputation as an expert on ground
board member to try repeatedly to water. Board members fairly
What the interviews called to elicit support for Gov. Bob Gra- drooled at the prospect of "tapping
the attention of the board mem- ham's Save Our Everglades pro- his expertise." Even so there were
bers was the technical sophistica- gram asked how he would have qualms about his insistence that
tion and complexity of the district. handled the ethics scandals of "the data must be there" to
Candidate after candidate detailed recent years. Mr. Wodraska had support any decision. What would
his "unique" talents and offered been cleared by the Ethics Corn- that mean for the restoration of
suggestions "to improve" the op- mission, but he fumbled the ques- the Kissimmee, an undertaking
eration of the district. Computer tion. never before tried? Moreover,
modeling to predict floods, corn- The problem, he suggested, many of the decisions made in the
puterized mapping, team manage- stemmed not from the hip-pocket district are basically political and
ment, weekly fiscal analysis ... policymaking of former director have to be made with or without
.No one wanted to tell these eager Jack Maloy but rather from the "facts."
men that their ideas were "old effort of a disgruntled employee The board's selection committee
hat" here and already had been "to sabotage" the agency. Mr. had never tried to spell out exactly
implemented. Wodraska would be quicker to fire what it wanted in a new director,
"The most revealing part of this the employee. Yet none of the yet consensus easily was reached.
process has been ... the recogni- accusations made against the dis- "I just ask myself, 'If I were an
tion that no one is going to pick up trict executives would have been employee, would I want this guy
all the pieces of this most complex sustained had Mr. Maloy gotten for a boss?" said board member
agency in six months," observed board approval for his directives Neil Gallagher, director of mainte-
longtime board member Nathaniel on travel reimbursements and on nance at Disney World. "The
P. Reed. the absences of an attorney who answer tells me a lot."
had been elected president of a
Indeed, one candidate was "sur- national fraternal organization. Mr. Gallagher became one of
prised" that Florida's Everglades When the full board votes "Woody's" strongest supporters.
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